Davidic line

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House of David
Parent houseTribe of Judah
TitlesKing of Israel
King of Judah
FounderDavid of Judah
Final rulerZedekiah of Judah
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House of David
Parent houseTribe of Judah
TitlesKing of Israel
King of Judah
FounderDavid of Judah
Final rulerZedekiah of Judah

The Davidic line (also referred to as the House of David) (known in Hebrew as Malkhut Beit David (מלכות בית דוד) — "Royal House of David") refers to the tracing of lineage to the King David referred to in the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament. The term "House of David" referring to the Davidic dynasty appears many times in the Bible.[1]


Upon being chosen and becoming king, the custom in the times of the Tanakh was to be anointed with Holy Oil poured on the head. In David's case, this was done by the prophet Samuel:

David and Goliath by Caravaggio

Now he [David] was ruddy, and with beautiful eyes, and goodly to look upon. And the Lord said: 'Arise, anoint him; for this is he.' Then Samuel [the prophet] took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward... (1 Samuel 16:12-13)

In Hebrew, the anointing is called meshicha (meaning "pouring") and a king (melekh or melech in Hebrew) is referred to as a Moshiach or Messiah or a Melech HaMashiach meaning "the anointed king". The procedure of anointment, in David's case, is said to symbolize the descent of God's holiness (kedusha) upon the king and as a sign of a bond never to be broken.

The monarchy was vouchsafed to the House of David by God in the Book of Samuel:

And Nathan said to the king: ...Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the name of the great ones that are in the earth... and I will cause you to rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord tells you that the Lord will make you a house. When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be to him for a father, and he shall be to Me for a son; if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; but My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thy house and thy kingdom shall be made sure for ever before thee; thy throne shall be established for ever.' ...Then David the king went in, and sat before the Lord... 'now therefore let it please you to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you; for you, O Lord God, have spoken it; and through your blessing let the house of your servant be blessed forever.' (2 Samuel 7:1-29)

Initially, David was king over the Tribe of Judah only and ruled from Hebron, but after seven years the other Israelite tribes chose him to be their king as well:

Then came all the tribes of Israel to David to Hebron, and spoke, saying: 'Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you that did lead out and bring in Israel; and the Lord said to you: You shalt feed my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.' So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel... (2 Samuel 5:1-3).

As well as in the Book of Chronicles:

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Samuel... (1 Chronicles 11:3)

And these are the numbers of the heads of them that were armed for war, who came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord... All these, being men of war, that could order the battle array, came with a whole heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king. (1 Chronicles 12:24 and 12:39).

All subsequent kings in both the ancient first united Kingdom of Israel and the later Kingdom of Judah claimed direct descent from King David to validate their claim to the throne in order to rule over the Israelite tribes.

After the death of King Solomon son of David, the ten northern tribes of the Kingdom of Israel rejected the Davidic line, refusing to accept Rehoboam son of Solomon, and instead chose as king Jeroboam and formed the northern Kingdom of Israel. This kingdom was eventually conquered by Assyria who exiled them, to disappear from history as The Ten Lost Tribes.

Genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah.svg

Jeremiah's curse on the Solomonic line[edit]

Because of the godlessness of Jehoiachin in the early 500s BC, Jeremiah cursed the main branch of the Solomonic line, saying that no descendant of "Coniah" would ever again reign on the throne of Israel (Jer. 22:30)[2] This curse is considered by some Jewish commentators as the reason that Zerubbabel, the rightful Solomonic king during the time of Nehemiah, was not given a kingship under the Persian empire. Some Christian commentators also consider Jeremiah's curse the reason that the Solomonic genealogy in Matthew 1 must be the genealogy of Jesus' adopted father, Joseph. The genealogy in Luke 3, traditionally that of Mary, is from Solomon's brother Nathan.[3]

There are also those who believe that God said in Jer. 22:30 "—ruling any more in Judah." and did not say "No descendant of David would set on the Throne over the House of Israel". However, it only specifically said "rule over the house of Judah". Thus, they claim that the throne of David was transplanted by Jeremiah, via a daughter of King Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, to Ireland (Jeremiah 43:6), along with the stone of Jacob, which was named "The House of God" (Genesis 28:22), to Scotland and then to England, where the descendants of David, via the daughter of Zedekiah, are sitting on David’s throne today over the "House of Israel" who migrated there after having been transplanted by the Assyrians into northern Europe, then into Great Britain. The inhabitants of Great Britain are thus thought by some to be one of the "Lost Ten Tribes" of Israel, specifically, Josephs two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, and were taken into northern Germany and then migrated to Great Britain where the King and Queens of Davids Throne rule over them. However this idea, British Israelism, lacks validity, mainstream Jewish support and evidence, and is considered anti-Semitic.[4]

The Exilarch[edit]

Following the conquest of Judah by Babylon and the exile of its population, the Babylonian Exilarchate was established. The highest official of Babylonian Jewry was the exilarch (Reish Galuta, "Head of the Diaspora"). Those who held the position traced their ancestry to the House of David in the male line.[5] The position holder was regarded as a king-in-waiting.[citation needed]

Hasmonean monarchy[edit]

The Hasmoneans, also known as the Maccabees were a priestly group (kohanim) from the Tribe of Levi. They established their own monarchy in Judea following their revolt and war against the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty. The Hasmoneans were not considered connected to the Davidic line nor to the Tribe of Judah. The Levites had always been excluded from the Israelite monarchy, so when the Maccabees assumed the throne in order to rededicate the defiled Second Temple, a cardinal rule was broken. According to scholars within Orthodox Judaism this is considered to have contributed to their downfall, and the eventual downfall of Judea; internal strife allowing for Roman occupation and the violent installation of Herod the Great as king of the Roman province of Judea and subsequent rededication then destruction of the Second Temple by the Emperor Titus.

With the end of the monarchy following the destructions of both the Temple of Solomon and the Second Temple, the line of the monarchy was carefully preserved and guarded

Jewish Messianism[edit]

The future Jewish Messiah is expected to be from the "Davidic line" (The Tree of Life), as indicated in Jewish eschatology. Many prayers in the Jewish prayer book, the Siddur, make fervent mention of the restoration of King David's monarchy and the long-awaited Messiah, who is referred to as Mashiach ben David (Messiah son of King David). Given the difficulty of identifying the Messianic figure, Jews also pray for the coming of the prophet Elijah to serve as the Messiah's herald and to properly identify him.

Genealogies of Jesus Christ[edit]

Tree of Jesse in an illuminated manuscript by the Master of James IV of Scotland, Flemish, 1510-20, Getty.

The Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and Pauline epistles refer to Jesus of Nazareth as a descendant of David.

Two divergent genealogies of Jesus Christ

The Gospels of the NT give two different genealogies for Jesus.[6]

Matthew traces the lineage from David through Solomon, while Luke traces the lineage through Nathan, Solomon's brother.[6] An explanation traditionally offered by Christian apologists is that Matthew is stating Joseph's line and Luke is stating Mary's line.[7] Under the Lucan text, Jesus would be a biological descendant of David through his mother.[8] It is often this descent that is depicted in the Tree of Jesse subject in art, which usually shows Mary but rarely Joseph.

Another solution to the problem of two genealogies was offered by Africanus and repeated by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History. Under the Torah, a widowed woman could marry her late husband's brother. According to Christian belief, the children of this union would be reckoned as the sons of the deceased. Thus the Gospel of Matthew is believed to record Jesus' lineage by birth while Luke's by an idiosyncratic Christian interpretation of Jewish law, this distinction being defended by Luke's use of the phrase "Joseph son of Eli, as was supposed."[9] According to Matthew Henry, the Gospels emphasize a trinitarian aspect of Davidic lineage.[Mt. 22:45][Mk. 12:37][Lk. 20:44] Jesus outlines that if he was a mere man who would not exist until many ages after David's death, his forefather would not call him Lord. It means that Jesus is God the Son and David's Lord equally with God the Father.[10]

Virginal conception and divine incarnation of Jesus
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matt 1:23

Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel. Cream and honey he shall eat when he knows to reject bad and choose good. For, when the lad does not yet know to reject bad and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread, shall be abandoned."

Isaiah 7:14-16

Christian faith regards Jesus as having been born of a virgin, Mary, and consequently as not having a natural human father. The virgin birth of Jesus or virginal conception[11] is a doctrine of Christianity—since the 2nd century CE—and Islam. It gives Jesus a divine parentage and makes God the father his begetter, the latter is not a tenet of Islam, which rejects a divinity of Jesus.[12] Nevertheless, he is considered to be a prince of Judah, as though Mary's husband Joseph were in fact his father.[citation needed] The tenet of the virginal conception of Jesus is included in Christian creeds, which say that Jesus "was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" (the Nicene Creed)[13] and was "born of the Virgin Mary" (Apostles' Creed).[14]

In Mat 1:22-23 the NT refers to a passage from the book of Isaiah, Isaiah 7:14-16. The NT uses the Greek term "parthenos" as "virgin", while the original Jewish Masoretic Isaiah uses the Hebrew "almah".[15] This Christian translational interpretation of the original Jewish source alters the meaning of the Jewish Bible's original Hebrew. The NT deviatingly changes the text to a nonspecific virgin ("a virgin") and intentionally translates ‘the young woman’ with the Greek word for ‘a virgin’ (parthenos),[16] "(..) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet (..)" (Mat 1:22).

In Isaiah 7:14-16, a prophecy is given to king Ahaz saying, that a young woman will give birth to a son who will be called "Immanuel", meaning "God with us", and that Ahaz's enemies will be destroyed before this child learns the difference between good and evil, i.e., before he reaches maturity. The Hebrew word is "עלמה" (almah), young woman, without any connotation of virginity. The prophecy is clear in that a specific woman ("the young woman") is meant and that the events historically were fulfilled in Ahaz's near future and do not refer to the eventual times of Jesus' birth, and thus it is not a messianic prophecy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Examples can be found in: 1 Kings 12:201 Kings 12:26 1 Kings 13:2, 1 Kings 14:8,2 Kings 12:1-19,2 Kings 17:21,2 Samuel 3:1, 1 Samuel 19:11HE, 1 Samuel 20:16,2 Samuel 3:6,Isaiah 7:2,Jeremiah 21:12,Zechariah 12:7, Nehemiah 12:37, Psalms 30:1,Psalms 122:5, 1 Chronicles 17:24, 2 Chronicles 10:19, etc.
  2. ^ H. Wayne House Israel: Land and the People 1998 114 "And yet, Judah has also been without a king of the Solomonic line since the Babylonian exile. Because of Jeremiah's curse on Jehoiachin (Coniah) in the early 500s BC (Jer. 22:30), the high priests of Israel, while serving as the ..."
  3. ^ Warren W. Wiersbe -The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete Old Testament - 2007 p1497 "Zerubbabel was the grandson of King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Matt. 1:12; Coniah, Jer. 22:24, 28), and therefore of the royal line of David. But instead of wearing a crown and sitting on a throne, Zerubbabel was the humble governor of a ..."
  4. ^ See: British Israelism
  5. ^ Max A Margolis and Alexander Marx, A History of the Jewish People (1927), p. 235.
  6. ^ a b Boles, H. Leo (1952), A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel Advocate Commentary 1, Nashville, TN: The Gospel Advocate Company, p. 19 
  7. ^ Morris, Leon (1992), The Gospel according to Matthew, Pillar New Testament Commentary 3A, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, p. 22 
  8. ^ Boles, H. Leo (1940), A Commentary on the Gospel by Luke, The Gospel Advocate Commentaries 2, Nashville, TN: The Gospel Advocate Company, pp. 88–91 
  9. ^ "Hence the genealogy traced through him will not be rendered void, which the evangelist Matthew in his enumeration gives thus: 'Jacob begot Joseph.' But Luke, on the other hand, says: 'Who was the son, as was supposed' (for this he also adds), 'of Joseph, the son of Eli, the son of Melchi'; for he could not more clearly express the generation according to law. And the expression 'he begot' he has omitted in his genealogical table up to the end, tracing the genealogy back to Adam the son of God. This interpretation is neither incapable of proof nor is it an idle conjecture. "
  10. ^ "Jesus questions the Pharisees". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 2010-03-07. "In other words, God manifested in the flesh is the Son of man and the Son of David, as Jesus teaches."
  11. ^ Erickson, Millard J. (1998). Christian Theology (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. p. 759. ISBN 978-0801021824. 
  12. ^ "Virgin Birth" britannica.com Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  13. ^ Translation by the ecumenical English Language Liturgical Consultation, given on page 17 of Praying Together, a literal translation of the original, "σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου"
  14. ^ Translation by the English Language Liturgical Consultation, given on page 22 of Praying Together
  15. ^ Brown, Raymond E.; Achtemeier, Paul J. (1978). Mary in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars. Paulist Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-8091-2168-9.
  16. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, 2009 (Penguin 2010, p. 81). ISBN 978-0-14-102189-8


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